Back from my sabbatical week!

slow-down_loresHappy December!

Can you believe we have less than a month left in this year? I sure can’t!!

I originally had a different post prepared for this week but decided to do a report back from my sabbatical week off instead! It seemed a lot of you liked my sabbatical report last time around, and if I make a habit to do a report back from every sabbatical, it’ll help me stay on track with my mini sabbaticals and self-care πŸ™‚


I took my sabbatical the week of Thanksgiving, and it was SO needed! I had multiple holiday art & craft shows in November, and with everything else I had to do, I was pooped. I was so ready to unwind and recharge!

The timing was great because it was the holiday week, and I wasn’t able to work the whole week anyway. Dave, my husband, had the most of the week off, too, so even better!

In my last sabbatical, I kinda had an agenda and things I wanted to get done. I consider sabbaticals to be the time to focus on things I don’t get to do normally, and not just a vacation. You can read more about what I did during my first sabbatical here!

For this week off, though, I didn’t really have an agenda. It was partly because I was too busy working up until that point and didn’t put a lot of thought into how I wanted to spend Β my time off. It was also the holiday week, and I already had a few social things to attend on the calendar. I try to avoid filling up the calendar with events during my time off! I like structure but also enjoy freedom πŸ™‚

Here are some highlights from my sabbatical week!

1) Family & Friend Time

When I’m in a hustle mode, I’m not very good at making time for my family and friends. I try to be mindful of spending time with people I care about on my sabbaticals.

Since Dave’s been working out of town a lot and hadn’t seen each other very much, we decided to kick off my sabbatical with a day of hanging out! We went grocery shopping (OK, not super exciting, but I enjoy going to the grocery store with him :)), went to the matinee of the new Hunger Games movie (intense!!), and went out for a delicious Japanese food at Nishino, one of the most amazing Japanese restaurants in Seattle! They were participating in theΒ Dine Around Seattle, where you can get a 3 course dinner for $33. Many of the participating restaurants are pretty fancy, and we can’t normally afford to go, so we like to take advantage of it when it happens in March and November. Anyway, the food was amazing, and we were a couple of happy campers πŸ™‚

nishino dinner
This is what I had… I can still remember the yumminess! Mmmm.

On Tuesday, I had a coffee date with my new artist friend, Esther Loopstra, and had a great time chatting about art/illustration business and just getting to know each other. I love her work, and her positive energy is really contagious πŸ™‚ Since I quit my day job this summer, I’ve been working on my own for the most part. I have artist friends I talk to on the internet, and it is nice to have someone so close that I can get inspired by.

On Thanksgiving day, Dave and I visited my American parents. They’re the family I stayed with when I first came to the U.S. almost 20 years ago (wow!!), and we still get together for the holidays. Living so far away from my family is hard sometimes, and I’m so grateful that I’ve made new families here along the way πŸ™‚

He’s chill on Thanksgiving Day and every day!

We also had lunch with good friends of ours during my week-off. We hadn’t seen each other for over a month even though we live so close by. We spent almost 3 hours at the restaurant talking and catching up on what we’ve been doing. It was so nice ❀

2) Health & Fitness

One of the many perks of working from home is I can cook and eat healthier and have the flexibility to fit in a regular workout schedule. I’ve always eaten pretty healthy, but when I work from home (and don’t have a regular paycheck!) I tend to eat at home a lot more. And when we eat at home, we use mostly organic ingredients, eat more veggies, and it’s not as rich.

Because it was the Thanksgiving week, and I knew my diet would be a little off, I ate extra healthy at home.

lunch sketch
My typical lunch looks like this. I love roasted veggies!

I also went to the gym one extra day. I’ve been getting into kettlebell workouts lately, and adding one more workout session to the week totally kicked my butt!! But I felt really good πŸ™‚


I used to be an avid yoga practitioner but have been slacking off for the past few years. I find it hard to “slow down” these days because there are so much to do and so little time, you know? I know intellectually that things like yoga and meditation are good for you, but my first reaction is “But I don’t have the time!”

It’s a bad habit many of us have to think that “being still” is not productive and waste of time. I almost talked myself out of doing some yoga during my week off, but I remembered this proverb:Β β€œYou should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day β€” unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” Sigh. That’s exactly right…! Things you’re avoiding the most are often what you need the most. So I did a couple of yoga/meditation sessions, and again, it was awesome πŸ™‚

3) Research & Preparation for Special Diet

Since early summer this year, I’ve been suffering from eczema that came out of nowhere. I’d never had any food or seasonal allergies before and didn’t have eczema as a kid, either.

I’ve been working with my naturopathic doctor on some diet modifications for several months, but nothing is sticking. We suspect it’s caused by the intestinal yeast overgrowth and decided to take the treatment to the next level. It’s basically a very low-carb, low-starch, and low-sugar diet to starve off Candida and bring back the healthy balance of gut flora. I’ve been on a modified diet for a while now, so it won’t be a super drastic change, but it’ll be stricter and I would have to pay a very close attention to what I eat for the next 4 weeks or so.

So I spent a lot of time reading articles about it and researching different recipes online. I’m excited to find many recipes that work for the treatment and have already made a few tasty dishes! My favorite sites to find good Candida Diet recipes are here,Β here, and here.

Here are a few things I made during my sabbatical! They were all pretty simple to prepare and yummy!

Curried Shrimp from
Chicken Zucchini Burger from
Stuffed Peppers with Turkey from I’d never made stuffed anything, but it was so easy! Although I forgot to put the green chiles in, they were still delicious πŸ™‚

Please note that there is SO MUCH different information about Candida diet out there! Do talk to your doctor if you’re considering trying the diet.

I know it’ll be challenging – I’m worried I’ll be hungry all the time and will have bad sugar and carb cravings – but look forward to positive outcomes at the end of the treatment! And I’m excited to explore different recipes to make and eat πŸ™‚ Wish me luck!

4) DYI Project

I like to learn new skills during my sabbaticals. Art related or not. This time, I wanted to learn how to repair holes in my socks a.k.a. darning! I’m not very skilled at sewing, and it’s one of the goals for next year to learn how to sew. Now, darning socks doesn’t really require “real” sewing skills, but it’s a practical skill with some hand sewing practice πŸ™‚ And at the end I’ll have socks without holes! Woo hoo!

I love my SmartWool socks. They’re stylish, light, and keep my feet very warm. But they can be on a little pricy side, and I always felt bad pitching them when they have holes while everything else about the socks was still great.

I read articles and watched tutorial videos about how to darn socks (I found this and this helpful). It’s pretty simple actually!


So one evening, I sat down with a pile of socks that have holes or have thin spots and started working on them. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I discovered Glee on Netflix at the same time (how did I not watch this until now??) and got totally engrossed in the show, so I didn’t get a lot of darning done. I repaired one and a half pair πŸ™‚ But now I know how to do it, so I can keep working at it this winter! It’s very satisfying to learn a new skill, put it into practice, and see the results in a short time.

OK, that’s it from my sabbatical week! It was really chill. I had a good combination of hanging out with people, working on projects, and spending time alone, which for an introvert like me, is a critical part of self-care.

Now I’m ready to tackle the holiday craziness once again!! Let me know if you’ve incorporated sabbaticals or something similar into your self-care strategies πŸ™‚

See you next week!

xoxo Yuko

p.s. I’m offering free U.S. shipping on my Etsy store through today (Sunday, December 6) with a coupon code “JOYFUL2015” Get some holiday shopping done πŸ™‚




2 thoughts on “Back from my sabbatical week!

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